Posts Tagged ‘M4 Carbine’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Umarex did it!
WOW! They did it! Umarex did what airgunners have been asking for years! They’re going to make a P08 BB pistol. Many of you will call this a German Luger; but since Stoeger owns that name, Umarex has chosen to use the official military nomenclature of Pistole Model 08 or just P08.
I was looking at the new Walther LGV when the Umarex staffer mentioned they also had a replica BB pistol in the lineup this year. My heart skipped a beat as I hoped against hope it would turn out to be the Luger, er P08, and, glory be — it was!
A fond wish is now reality. The P08 BB pistol will arrive this year!
As far as I’m concerned — this is the big news of the SHOT Show in airguns. However, I did mention that I was standing next to the the new Walther LGV rifles when this happened. They aren’t small potatoes — either!
The new Walther LGV Competition Ultra is the top of the new LGV rifle line.
The new line of LGVs are all sporting breakbarrels, as contrasted with the vintage LGVs that were breakbarrel target rifles. They have Super Silent technology and a built-in vibration reduction system. Like the vintage LGV, all the new guns have a barrel lock that positively locks the breech, so accuracy should be pretty good.
There’s a lot more to report from Umarex, but I’ll have to return and get it later.
Everybody is talking about what Crosman is doing these days, and a lot of it is new. Let’s start with their highly popular PCP, the Benjamin Marauder. They put it in a synthetic stock and dropped a lot of the bulk and a pound of weight. The result is a slimmer rifle that’s still everything the Marauder has always been. The old rifle will not fit into the new synthetic stock because the trigger group was moved backwards in the new rifle.
The Marauder drops weight and bulk with synthetics.
The next rifle I, frankly, did not believe until the Crosman rep demonstrated it to me. An M4 carbine, called the MSR77MPC, that’s a Nitro Piston breakbarrel in disguise. It’s a full 1,000 f.p.s. single-shot rifle, yet it looks way cool at the same time.
This sexy carbine is called the MSR77MPC. I broke the barrel open so you would believe it.
Speaking of M4s, Crosman has upgraded their multi-pump M4-177 with an improved internal pump that now develops 800 f.p.s. with BBs. It shoots both BBs and pellets — the same as the original gun, but as you can see, the styling is quite different.
The MK 177 is an improved multi-pump BB and pellet shooter that hits 800 f.p.s. with BBs.
The other news I’ll give you today comes from Hatsan. They have a whole new line of PCPs, starting with the AT44-10 TACT. Although it looks like a tactical rifle, the features seem to support the hunter quite well. It has a built-in circular clip and storage for two additional clips in the stock. And because it comes from Hatsan, it comes in .177, .22 and .25 calibers.
The AT44-10 TACT is a powerful PCP with an adjustable stock, circular clips and lots of shots per charge.
There are a host of other beautiful Hatsan rifles I’ll cover in the next report; but for today, I’ll close with something that’s far removed from these powerful airguns. The little Striker Alpha is a youth-sized air rifle that I can’t wait to test.
Hatsan’s Striker Alpha is a quality youth spring gun. I can’t wait to test it.
by B.B. Pelletier
As you read this, I’m at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. I’ll be there all week. In fact, today is Media Day, where the media gets to go to an outdoor shooting range in Boulder City and shoot the guns displayed by manufacturers, importers and distributors. Since I won’t be monitoring comments much of this week, I would appreciate it if our regular readers would help answer them. Edith will still monitor all the comments but may not have a chance to answer many more than she already does.
How many of you remember that I said I would come back to the Crosman M4-177 multi-pump air rifle and test it at longer range with a dot sight? Well, if everything went right, Mac and I are out at the range in Las Vegas at the SHOT Show Media Day today, but while we are seeing and shooting all the new guns you guys get one more look at this one.
As I mentioned in the last report, I mounted a dot sight on the rifle, to see how it performs at longer distance. I picked the 25-yard indoor range for this one. For the sight, I selected the BSA Optics red/green/blue dot sight that also has a laser and a tactical flashlight. It certainly looks right at home on this rifle, and the Weaver clamp fits the rifle’s Picatinny base. All I had to do was remove the open sights, front and rear, and put this one on the base.
The problem with optical sights on a multi-pump rifle is they get in the way of holding the gun during pumping. I had to hold the M4 at the buttstock extension tube because the sight sat right where I wanted to put my hand. Because of that, pumping was more difficult, and I wanted to pump the rifle 10 times per shot. So, I decided to shoot 5-shot groups until I found an accurate pellet, then shoot 10 shots with that one.
As I said, all testing was done at 25 yards off a rest. The rifle was pumped 10 times for every shot. Pay no attention to where the groups land, as I adjusted the sights several times to keep the pellets on the target.
I first tried the Crosman Premier Super Match pellet that had worked so well at 10 meters in Part 3. Once it was on target, I shot a group of 5 to see how they did. Unfortunately, at 25 yards, they didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. The group measures approximately 3.01 inches, but that’s not precise because the widest pellet didn’t land entirely on target. Suffice to say it was poor enough to disregard.
I continued on, testing RWS Hobby pellets. They were better, with 5 going into 1.563 inches but not what I was looking for.
Next came 5 JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes. This was the first domed pellet I tried, and the group size shrank to 1.406 inches. The group was also very vertical, however, which leads me to an important point.
By this point in the test, I noticed that this dot sight is not precise. The dot smears in all three colors at all three intensities. I’ve used quality dot sights that held the size of their dots very well, but with this one the dot smeared to the sides. I tried it both with my glasses and without, and the results were always the same. Maybe it’s me and not the sight, but I felt I wasn’t able to aim precisely enough with this sight.
The last pellet I tried was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome. This one gave me 4 very tight shots, with No. 5 landing several inches away. Now, I had a quandary. Should I go with the JSBs or the Premier lites?
I decided to go with the Premiers, because of the tighter group of 4. So, I shot 10 more Premier lites at 25 yards.
Well, I had been unhappy with the performance of the dot sight to this point. What if I replaced it with the original factory sights — a peep rear and a post front? Hey! Haven’t I read somewhere on the internet that those kind of sights can do a good job?
The dot sight came off and the factory sights went back on. It took 4 shots to sight in, and then I shot another 10-shot group. This time, the pumping was much easier because my hands could hold the rifle in the right places.
And that’s the same rifle, same pellet with factory peep sights. This group measures 1.546 inches between centers, with 8 of the 10 shots going into 0.923 inches. Clearly, the factory sights were better in this case.
Well, I’ve wrung out the M4-177 pretty thoroughly. It’s accurate and fun to shoot, and for my money you can use the sights that come with it. I know that the look of the gun begs for tactical accessories; but for me, accuracy is always the trump.
by B.B. Pelletier
Here we are at accuracy day with the new Crosman M4-177 multi-pump air rifle that you steady readers also know as the M417. Speaking of that, Pyramyd Air sold out of their initial supply of guns and is now selling the second shipment of guns that are still marked M417. If you want one marked in that special way, the time to act is right now.
BBs and pellets
As you know, this multi-pump pneumatic will shoot both BBs and pellets, though not at the same time. Each type of ammunition requires a different loading procedure, so before you start shooting you have to pick one type. I decided to begin with steel BBs. I’ve been testing the gun with Daisy zinc-plated BBs, but during the velocity test I also tried Crosman Copperhead BBs. In the past, Daisy BBs have been more uniform and accurate, but in this gun the Crosman BBs are doing better — at least as far as velocity goes.
I decided to pump the gun five times for each shot. During the initial shooting, which I did at 25 feet, I found the gun shot very high and to the left. Elevation is adjusted at the front sight which, in this case, needed to go higher to bring down the strike of the BB. I had to adjust the front post an estimated eight full turns to lower the BB by the two-plus inches that were needed. The rear sight adjusts via a slotted screw on the left side of the sight, and to move the BBs by one inch required at least four full turns of the screw. As you’ll see, my final impact point is still off by a little, but it’s close enough.
I shot in the standing supported position, using a door jamb for support. While it’s not as steady as shooting off a rest, it’s much steadier than offhand. And the whole point of the test is to find out how well the rifle performs — not how good a shot I am.
Shooting for record
I shot 10-shot groups as always, and I think you will be glad that I did. The Daisy BBs went into a group that measures 1.594 inches between the two farthest centers. Throw out just one shot, and the other nine are in 1.046 inches. That’s very good shooting for BBs at 25 feet.
Next up were the Crosman Copperhead BBs, and I wondered if they would also beat the Daisys at accuracy. After all, this is a Crosman gun!
Beat them they did, with a ten-shot group measuring 1.585 inches across the two farthest centers. This time, though, there was no single stray that enlarged the group, so in general, it was more evenly spread than the Daisy target.
Ten Crosman Copperhead BBs gave this well-distributed ten-shot group measuring 1.585 inches at 25 feet.
By this point, I was definitely in the groove, so I decided to keep on shooting at 25 feet. That’s arbitrary, I know, but I plan to visit this gun one more time, and perhaps then I’ll push the distance out farther.
The M4 on pellets
It seemed like the rifle enjoyed Crosman ammunition, so for the pellet test I used Crosman Premier Super Match wadcutter target pellets. I was still pumping the gun five times for every shot. I did not adjust the sights for the first group, and the results were so encouraging that I forgot to shoot the second five pellets. So, my five-shot group measures 0.449 inches between the two farthest centers. When I saw it I had to adjust the sights just a little more to try to center the group on the next and final attempt.
The second time, I remembered to reload the clip after the first five shots, so this is a true 10-shot group with pellets from 25 feet in the standing supported position. This 10-shot group measures 0.519 inches between centers, so it’s ever-so-slightly larger than the five-shot group.
I find the peep sights on the M4 to be the easiest sights I’ve used in a long time. In fact they remind me of M1 Carbine sights. Yes, the peep holes are large, but that has nothing to do with their precision. All a larger hole does is pass more light, which decreases your depth of field. That makes it more difficult to focus on the front sight post and keep the bullseye in sharp focus as well. But you can light the range to compensate for most of that, which is what I did. The bottom line is that I like these sights a lot.
The trigger, I don’t care for. It’s single-stage and has a long pull that, while at 3 lbs., 8 ozs. is not heavy, it’s also not light. It’s very consistent, though, I’ll give them that.
I resist the tempation of calling this rifle a tackdriver, but it’s surprisingly accurate. More so than any other 760-based rifle I’ve tested or owned.
We’re not done with this airgun just yet. I plan to mount a dot sight on it and give it one more accuracy test at a longer range. But from what I see thus far, it’s a no-brainer. This is one heck of a fine air rifle!
by B.B. Pelletier
Before we begin, I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for, and I hope all of you do, as well. Now, on to the report.
This Crosman M4-177 multi-pump air rifle has proven to be one of the most interesting new air rifles of the season; and as a result, I’m looking at it a little more thoroughly. Today is the day we test velocity, and I have a couple other interesting things to share. One I’ll share right now…I bought the test gun. This is a neat rifle, plus this is a future collectible because Crosman will change the name stamped on the gun (from M417 to M4-177) by January 2012.
It’s a multi-pump
As a multi-pump pneumatic, the M4 allows the shooter to pump a maximum of 10 strokes, with the power varying with every new stroke. You probably don’t want to pump less than three times because the power is so low you risk getting a pellet stuck in the barrel; but from three to ten pumps, it gives you the ability to vary the power of the gun according to the situation.
How can you shoot BBs in a rifled bore?
The first question I’ll address is the fact that you can shoot both BBs and lead pellets in this rifle. It has a rifled steel barrel that will tolerate steel BBs without undue wear. Like you, I wondered what the rifling for such a combination gun must look like, so I took a reverse impression of the bore by pushing a Beeman Kodiak pellet from muzzle to breech. The rifling was engraved on the pellet, giving us a look at the bore in reverse.
Notice how much lead has smeared to the back of the lands and sticks out like a small tail as an extrusion at the rear of each channel. This is what barrel maker Harry Pope said was ruinous to accuracy, because it’s influenced by the expanding gasses at the instant the bullet leaves the muzzle. In other words, it’s the equivalent of a poor crown.
Now we know what the inside of the barrel looks like. Does Crosman harden their barrels to prevent wear from the steel BBs? I don’t know, but I would presume that the rifling button will work-harden the steel to a certain extent, and maybe that’s all it takes.
Shooting BBs in the M4
When you shoot the M4, you can choose between BBs and pellets but it’s a choice you must make. If you leave the BB magazine loaded and also shoot pellets, I would imagine there could be a double-feed problem. The BBs are picked up by the magnetic tip of the bolt, while the pellets are simply shoved out of the clip and into the breech when the bolt is shoved forward.
When I refer to the BB magazine, I do not mean the 350-shot BB reservoir. You can leave that full all the time and shoot lead pellets without a problem. I’m referring to the visible BB magazine that can be seen on the left side of the gun.
The visible BB magazine on the left side of the gun is filled from the internal 350-shot BB reservoir. The small switch at the right of this photo controls this magazine. Here it’s shown in the open position, so the magazine can be filled by holding the muzzle down and shaking the gun with a twisting motion. After the magazine is filled, push the switch to the rear to retain the BBs.
The instruction manual says to watch the tip of the bolt when feeding BBs into the breech. I found that to be impossible, because the 5-shot pellet clip blocks the view, and it must be in place to feed BBs. But you can watch the BBs move through the visible magazine window shown in the photo above and know for certain that a BB has been fed. Once I figured this out, there were no difficulties and feeding was reliable.
Velocity with BBs
I started with Daisy zinc-plated BBs because I’ve noted in past reports they’re the most uniform and usually give the highest velocity and the best accuracy. I decided to test the gun on five pump strokes and again on ten. That should give us an idea of what the gun can do.
On five pump strokes, the BB averaged 460 f.p.s., but the velocity spread was large. From a low of 451 f.p.s to a high of 483 f.p.s., the total spread was 32 f.p.s. Normally, I expect to see a 6-10 foot-second spread when shooting with the same number of pump strokes. However, I did see that the more I shot the gun the faster it went, up to a point. I think the pump cup needed to be warmed up through repeated use, even though I shot in 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) temperature, so it wasn’t too cold for the gun. The pump cup just needed to be flexed a bit to warm it and get it sealing all the way.
On ten pump strokes, the gun gave an average of 579 f.p.s. with the same BB. This time the spread went from 566 to 588 f.p.s., so it was still a 22 foot-second spread. Perhaps the hardness (durometer) of the pump cup material is causing such a large spread. That would probably make it a longer-lasting material, so there’s a tradeoff.
Okay, I guess it’s not fair to test a Crosman gun and not use their BBs, so I also tested some Copperhead BBs. On five pumps, the rifle averaged 465 f.p.s. with a spread from 459 to 472. That’s only 13 f.p.s., which is much tighter than the Daisy BBs.
On ten pumps, the gun averaged 581 f.p.s., so it’s also a little bit faster than with Daisy BBs. The spread went from a low of 574 to a high of 592 f.p.s., so a total of 18 f.p.s. The bottom line is that Crosman Copperhead BBs are more consistent in the M4. I guess I’ll have to try both in the accuracy test.
Pumping not that easy
I said in Part 1 that the M4 is easier to pump because the stroke is short. Well, after today’s test, I have to change that. After you pass five strokes, the effort required to pump increases; and by the end of the session, my left hand was hurting from the pump handle. Also, the gun makes quite a racket with every pump stroke because the handle slaps down hard when the stroke is finished.
Velocity with pellets
I tried only a single pellet in the rifle. I tried it on five pump strokes and on ten. The pellet I used was the Crosman Premier Super Match, which is a wadcutter target pellet that’s appropriate to a rifle in this power range. On five pumps, the pellet averaged 429 f.p.s. and ranged from 424 to 433 f.p.s. The velocity spread is much tighter when the projectile fits the bore better.
On high power the same pellet averaged 529 f.p.s. with a low of 508 and a high of 545 f.p.s. That’s a big spread for a pellet in a multi-pump rifle, so I don’t know what is going on.
What about lead balls?
I figured someone would ask about shooting round lead balls out of this rifle so I tried it. First, there was difficulty finding a ball that worked. Since lead balls aren’t magnetic, they won’t feed properly through the BB feeding mechanism, so they have to be treated like pellets and fed from the clip. That eliminates all round balls smaller than a .177 pellet because they won’t stay in the clip long enough to feed into the barrel. The only round ball that worked somewhat was a Beeman Perfect Round, which is no longer made, but is similar to the H&N round ball. These measured 0.176 inches, which is close enough that they stuck in the pellet clip — sort of. When I tried shooting them, the two that were outside the receiver fell out of the clip on the first shot, so they’re not really large enough to use in this gun.
On five pumps, the one shot I fired went 407 f.p.s.; and on ten pumps, the other two shots went 502 and 519 f.p.s. I do not recommend this ammunition in this airgun.
Impressions thus far
Today, I got past the appearance and had a good look at the functioning of the rifle. The fact that the clip has to be indexed by hand for every shot slows you down more than you might imagine. Like I said in the first report, making a multi-pump a repeater sort of misses the mark. The time that it takes to get ready for the next shot negates any speed the repeating mechanism offers.
My test gun is shooting slower than the advertised top velocity of 625 f.p.s. for this rifle. It’s close, at 581 with Copperhead BBs, but not close enough. Maybe the rifle needs to break in, or perhaps the 625 f.p.s. is what a lone maximum shot could potentially be.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’ll start a look at an airgun that has many of us on this blog buzzing. The Crosman M4-177 multi-pump air rifle is a Crosman 760 Pumpmaster that’s been re-skinned to look like an M4 battle rifle. Crosman has a history of doing this. Back in 1966, they took a V350 BB gun and turned it into a very credible M1 Carbine. As a lover of that military arm, I feel that owning the Crosman BB variant is a necessity. Perhaps something similar will happen with this new M4 among the millions of black-rifle aficionados.
From this point on, I will refer to this airgun as the M4 for the sake of brevity. Being offered right before Christmas is sure to give a tremendous boost to the sales of this little dual-ammo airgun. In fact, Pyramyd Air has included it in their Christmas Gift Guide, which is found on the home page of the new website. The gift guide is only on the new website, so don’t look for it on the old site. It’s a fast and streamlined way for people to buy their special airgunners gifts this season.
So, what is the M4, really? Well, it’s a multi-pump pneumatic that fires either BBs or pellets through a rifled steel bore. I’ll be very interested to see how the accuracy turns out. The rifle comes packed in an attractive multicolor box with the sights removed. At just 3.75 lbs. and an overall length of less than 34 inches, the M4 is ideal for kids (of all ages).
The rifle is entirely synthetic on the outside, yet the dimensions are large and beefy. It doesn’t feel cheap. To their credit, Crosman put a thin soft rubber pad on the butt so you can stand the gun almost anywhere without it slipping to the floor.
Like the firearm, this M4 has an extending shoulder stock that collapses for transport. When it’s fully extended, the length of pull is one-sixteenth inch under 13 inches, so it’s very short. But the flattop action has a full-length Picatinny rail, allowing you to position the sights or any optional optics as far from your eye as needed; so the short pull can be overcome. The thin tubular extendable stock takes some getting used to for a cheek weld, but it isn’t that bad.
The M4 shoots either BBs or pellets, but only one type at a time. There’s a 350-round BB reservoir in the receiver that holds the BBs. They’re poured in through an opening that’s exposed when a sliding cover, that looks something like the selector switch on a firearm M4, slides to the rear.
Loading a BB for firing requires the shooter to have the empty five-shot pellet magazine installed. BBs are transferred from the large reservoir to a smaller BB magazine that’s controlled by another button called the BB retainer button. This also requires shaking and twisting the whole rifle with the muzzle pointed down, because the BBs move into the magazine via gravity. From there, they’re picked out of the magazine one at a time by a small magnet on the tip of the bolt. It sounds involved; but like tying a half-hitch knot in a rope, once you get the hang of it, everything goes fast. The owner’s manual does a good job of talking you through the process.
The M4 is a five-shot pellet repeater via a plastic clip that’s inserted into the right side of the receiver. The manual fails to describe this procedure well, but essentially the magazine has to be manually indexed for each shot. You can feel a hesitation when the magazine gets to the right position, but it takes care to do this. Blunder ahead and you probably won’t be able to push the bolt closed, as the chamber will not be in line. The magazine only holds the pellets in position for loading by the bolt; the gun doesn’t shoot the pellets out of the magazine directly. Since the pellets are loaded directly into the breech, there’s a chance of good accuracy. We shall see.
My objection is that the gun has a magazine to begin with, and I’ve objected to it ever since the 760 got one years ago. I guess Crosman feels the need to make their gun a repeater for marketing reasons, but the idea of a multi-pump that’s also a repeater is similar to putting belt-feed on a flintlock. There are still lots of other things that need to be done before the next shot can be fired!
The front and rear sights are adjustable. The rear adjusts for left and right (windage), and the front adjusts up and down (elevation). The rear needs a small flat-bladed screwdriver, which is as good a reason as any to carry a pocketknife with a screwdriver blade. The front sight requires the typical AR front sight tool, only this one is actually a small socket wrench that fits the flat-sided configuration of the front sight base. That’s so much easier to use than the real M4/M16 tool that requires a lot of downward tension as you turn. If you lose the tool — and what soldier doesn’t? — you can always screw up the tip of a bullet in one of your cartridges doing it the old-fashioned way, one click at a time. Oh, for the days of the Garand and sights that were easy!
There’s a Picatinny rail on the underside of the forearm; but because the forearm is actually the pump handle and moves as you fill the gun, there probably isn’t enough clearance for mounting anything very substantial there. Certainly not a monopod or tactical flashlight, unless the latter is miniaturized.
How it pumps
This is what you’ve been waiting to see. I know, because it was also what I wanted to see. The pump handle is the entire forearm, and it swings down and forward just like any other multi-pump with an underlever. The 760 action is what I call a short-stroke action, which moves through a smaller arc than the pump handle of, say, a Benjamin 397. That made it a convenient platform for projects like the M4, because the pump handle doesn’t have to move that much.
The rifle pumps easily — just like the 760 it’s made from. When the gun first came from the box, I noted that although the action was generally well-oiled, the pump head itself was rather dry, so I put several drops of Crosman Pellgunoil on the pump head. The pumping force increased immediately. I would advise any buyer to do the same.
Like the Crosman M1 Carbine, the new M4 also has a dummy “magazine” in the conventional place that can be removed and filled with BBs, pellets or even your lunch, if you eat light. As mentioned, the front sight adjustment tool is stored there, and there’s foam packed around it to prevent it from rattling. Since the gun’s reservoir already holds 350 BBs, I think I’d leave this one as it is. That will keep the extra rattles down as you move around.
What do you do with it?
The 760 is one of the quintessential BB guns of all time. And because it has a rifled barrel and can also handle pellets, it’s even more of a winner. Crosman says on the box that the gun is recommended for pest elimination, but I must take exception to that. This gun doesn’t have the power needed to dispatch any but the smallest (field mouse) pests, so keep it for informal target practice, plinking and fun. Remember to wear those safety glasses, because this is a BB gun, after all!
A modern collectible?
Crosman renamed the model right after it came out. It was originally called the M417, which they changed to the M4-177. But they didn’t remark the plastic housing of the gun, nor did they throw away the first boxes — so both the gun and the boxes are marked M417. If that changes, and it should, then the early few guns marked with the original name will gain some value. How much remains to be seen, but back in 1955 you could buy an uncirculated double-die penny for five dollars. They sell for $2,000 and up today — mostly up.
Where do we go from here?
The Crosman 760 is that company’s most popular airgun by a significant margin. They run two shifts a day just to keep up with demand. This M4 is going to increase them by some margin, and I know they hope it’ll be significant. Therefore, I want to put this gun under more detailed scrutiny than I normally do, since it’s arguably the most popular BB gun on the market — even taking the Daisy Red Ryder into account.